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Laura Restrepo: 1950—: Journalist, Political Activist, Novelist

Saw Writing As Historical Record

Before her books began to be financially successful, Restrepo had to write at night, while working as a journalist and television screenwriter. However, in recent years, she has been able to use royalties from her books to support her writing and research. Of her desire to write novels, she told Andre Mayer of Eye Weekly Online, that "I've been a journalist for many years, and writing novels is a way of continuing to do journalism." In a recent interview with Bill Moyers for his Public Television program, NOW, Restrepo tells Moyers that "for all my life I have only known violence." Now she is most concerned with keeping her family safe and in seeing Colombia become a safer place in which to live. Of Colombia, Restrepo says that while they live in "extreme difficulty," at the same time, Colombians "have such a joyous life." She also tells Moyers that "we enjoy life. The presence of death, having it always so near, always as a possibility, makes life shine, and human warmth be felt very strongly." At one point in the interview, Moyers asked Restrepo about her role as a storyteller in the midst of civil war. She replied that it was her role to keep history alive. She says, "I talk to many people when I write my books and one of the problems is that I have the feeling that everything has to be said now. Because I know if I come back a week later, that person might be dead." She sees her job as recording the past for the future, so that the children will know their history. Restrepo says of her country that, "I know people are suffering a big deal in my country, so what I like to do is tell them your life is worthwhile. It's a beautiful life. Your struggle is heroic. Something will come out of this."

As for her personal life, Restrepo told the Weekend Australian that there had been many men in her life. She has been married at least twice. One husband was an Argentinian, who was at one time a peace worker and later became a politician. They had a son, Pedro. Another marriage was to, as she tells Elliott, "the most beautiful, beautiful man," the Columbian ambassador to Italy. Having little in common, Restrepo eventually left the marriage. Restrepo currently lives on the 13th floor of a very secure building in Bogotá, with her partner José, an analytical psychiatrist. Currently she is teaching two months each year at the University of Seville.

Selected writings

Historia de una traición (History of a Betrayal), Plaza & Janes, 1986.

La isla de la pasión (Passion Island), Planeta, 1989.

El leopardo al sol (Leopard in the Sun), Planeta, 1993.

Dulce compañía (The Angel of Galilea), Editorial Norma, 1995.

La novia oscura, Grupo Editorial Norma, 1999; reis-sued in English as The Dark Bride, Harper Collins, 2001.



BOMB, winter 2001/2002, pp. 54-59.

Weekend Australian, September 7, 2002, p. R06.


"Bill Moyers Interviews Laura Restrepo" PBS Now, www.pbs.org/now/printable/transcript_restrepo_print.html (March 13, 2003).

"Historical whore story," Eye Weekly, www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_10.17.02/arts/ifoa-restrepo.html (March 13, 2003).

—Sheri Elaine Metzger

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographyLaura Restrepo: 1950—: Journalist, Political Activist, Novelist Biography - Raised On Unconventional Education, Acquired A Different Social Awareness, Emerged As A Writer, Saw Writing As Historical Record